Happiness is part of the journey

It’s not the destination!

When you’re having one on one conversations with your staff and talking about their goals for the future, do you sometimes hear them say things like “I want to be happy” – like it’s some amazing destination that isn’t accessible all the time?

If so, how do you respond? Do you delve into a discussion about all the actions that will make them happy and put a plan in place to achieve it?

Or, do you ask them:

  • What is it that prevents them from being happy right now?
  • Do you want to be happy ALL of the time? Like, ALL of the time?
  • Do you want to be happy when delivering bad news to a colleague? Or when comforting a peer who’s experienced loss?
  • Do you want to be happy in a dangerous situation that is life threatening?

What are we making happiness mean? Shawn Achor, in his TED talk, The Happy Secret to Better Work, explains that we’ve attached happiness to success. We have created a belief that if we’re successful then we’ll be happy. And the problem with that theory is “…your brain never gets there” because the goal posts are always moving.

What’s important to recognise is that happiness is a state, it’s an emotion, like love, joy, frustration and anger. And it can be accessed at any time, by either remembering or imagining something funny, uplifting or rewarding.

So rather than making happiness contingent on success perhaps it’s about being able to access the state quicker and easier. Here are a few suggestions you could share with your team:

  • Remember, and visualise, a time when you felt complete happiness. Remember it like you’re right back there, how were you feeling, what were you hearing, smelling, tasting.
  • Put on a funny movie or watch the comedy channel
  • Try learning a rap song…once you’ve nailed the song then challenge yourself to learn the moves that go with it
  • Go for a walk, listen to music, catch up with friends
  • Ask someone to tell you a joke
  • Watch funny kids or animal clips on YouTube
  • Find people you can have a laugh with – keep the conversation light and fun
  • Practice different accents “awwright govna!”
  • Hang out with a three year old, they’re hilarious!

While happiness makes us feel good, it’s not something we want all of the time. We want to be able to access the full spectrum of emotions to get the best outcome for each situation. As a leader, it’s doing this that will help you to understand and connect with those around you.

So, now that we agree happiness is part of the journey, not the destination, what is your destination?

Need help? Give me a call.

Shelley Flett is a passionate leader with a keen focus on creating efficient and sustainable team environments through adaptable leadership. She is a Leadership Coach, Trainer, Facilitator, Mentor and Speaker who ignites vision and purpose in those she works with.

If you’d like to know more about her latest programs please drop her an email shelley@shelleyflett.com.

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